The dorfrichter told us sharply that we were only to arrest Gherig. We could fight only in self-defense and if that became necessary we were to try very hard not to kill him. His instructions saddened me because I knew they were necessary. I had sworn to cause harm to others only in the defense of myself or those under my care. How had I ended up with a group of eager warriors who generally prefer to attack first and ask questions later?

The dorfrichter accompanied us to Gherig's house. Jason tried the gate and said it was locked. Prestley jiggled the handle and opened the door, saying it wasn't locked at all. It opened with an ominous squeal, although I didn't remember it squeaking before. All was quiet within. Most of us stood back, behind the dorfrichter. Prestley, José, and Miara went up to the door.

José knocked on on the door with his cane and proclaimed loudly, "We need to speak to Gherig." He received no response. He knocked again, then Prestley opened the door, again with an ominous squeak that hadn't been present before.

We all stepped forward, to enter the house, but then Gherig stepped around the corner and came to the door. He looked astonsihed to see us and said, "Excuse me?"

Jason took his arm and said, "Yes, please step out with us." Gherig seemed somewhat perturbed, but did not resist. He was apparently unarmed and unarmored.

Goldrim asked after Stapmi. Gherig said he was out doing errands, and he didn't know where he was or what he was doing. It was a private matter. Apparently Gherig was willing to hang Stapmi out to dry to save himself.

Jason brought him before the dorfrichter, who told him, "I arrest you in the name of the Duchess of Nuln for the murder of," and he listed everyone who had died recently except for Bastiens, "necromancy, conspiracy," and several crimes that I didn't even understand.

Gherig seemed shocked. He spoke as a friend to the dorfrichter, asking where these ridiculous charges were coming from. The dorfrichter told him about the man in the guardhouse who had named him, and Gherig said he haf no idea who that person was, that it was all a terrible mistake, and man was using his name in vain. The dorfrichter just replied that we were going to the guardhouse, and Gherig seemed eager to do so and sort everything out.

Goldrim and Prestley remained at the house to search it and to wait for Stapmi to reappear. I looked through the potting shed and discovered a lifetime's supply of springwort. In fact, that was the only thing in there.

They found lockboxes with papers in the house. We took them, unopened, to the dorfrichter and opened them in his presence. They were all contracts and ledgers to purchase and lease buildings all over the Empire.

The afternoon passed quietly. José returned to the inn to cook dinner, and he sent Son to bring it to us. He also passed on a request to the dorfrichter, to come to the inn for a town meeting and pass along the news.

We set up a watch on Gherig's house, waiting for the dwarf to reappear. Personally, I thought he was long gone. The rest of us stayed at the guard house to watch over the prisoners.

The doctor returned sometime during the night. In the morning, he showed up at the guardhouse asking who had broken into his house. The dorfrichter calmed him down and explained that we had needed to treat someone who had been poisoned. As we hadn't removed anything, and returned everything to its original location, he accepted the explanation. He looked in on the patients, and I accompanied him closely to be sure he didn't actually "treat" them in any way. He simply confirmed they were recovering and left again.

In the morning, Carmella, Dagmar, the watch captain, Prestley, Son, and I stayed at the guardhouse. The rest went searching for Stapmi. Ash followed his track from Gherig's house.

Nothing happened during the day. We played cards in the guardhouse, and ate whenever José sent us food. The only thing we found from Gherig was that Martin was a reasonably successful merchant, in good standing in Nuln. Martin came to Gherig and suggested that they might be able to work together. Stapmi had no deals with Martin at all except as Gherig's employee. Martin had his hands in a lot of different things, but he mostly dealt in real estate. Gherig hasn't paid Martin anything. The last real estate deal Gherig had made was to purchase an apartment in Nuln.

Late in the evening, Jason and José returned to town. The others were following the trail, and they came back to look for Martin. Another quiet night.

Ravenna, A Monk of the Biancan Order

Part the First:
Blood and Mud

Part the Second:
Murder and Mayhem

Part the Third:
Puzzles and Crystals

Part the Fourth:
Dwarves and Rocks

Part the Fifth:
Diplomacy and Daggers

Part the Sixth:
Crystal and Chaos

Part the Seventh:
Sheer Insanity

~ The End ~